My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I’m Here by Adam Arbiter reads like a diary written by a young British World War II soldier. The writing is dry at times, but it fits the narrative and setting. Arbiter conveys MC Garret’s evolution from eager to be a hero and naive to the realities of war to jaded and defeated.
There are hearty celebrations amidst violence and death. And there is a lot of death in I’m Here. (Which is to be expected; this is a novel about war, after all.) Garret tells about the bare bones and spoiled rations, the short reprieves from the battlefield at the camp. He’s in a foreign country (France), fighting an enemy who speaks another language he cannot understand. He tells of the horrors he witnesses, the losses he endures, and the hope he and his fellow soldiers grasp onto.
Simon becomes Garret’s port in the storm. They lean on each other for support during particularly rough times. Their relationship is a sweet treat in an otherwise bleak story.
I’m Here is a story of tragedy and of hope, and a fabulous debut by Adam Arbiter.
***Thank you to Gay Romance Reviews for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.***